Isaac Gordon, Money Lender

  • 26 Oct 2020
  • Worcester People and Places
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Money lenders in the past were often Jews, and one of the most notorious was Isaac Gordon, who kept a money lending office in Bridge Street in the 1880's. He was sentenced at Worcester Assizes to a term of imprisonment for defrauding a Herefordshire farmer and the exposure of his extortions contributed to secure legislative regulations of money lending.

Gordon was a Polish Jew, but was a descendant of a too 'Gay Gordon', who some three and a half centuries before had fled from Scotland to escape the penalty of murder and was found as a refuge in Poland. There he had married a Jewess and embraced Judaism and formed a clan of Polish Gordons, whose mothers in each successive generation were Jewess. Isaac Gordon died early in March 1900, and Berrow's Journal carried this comment on him:     

  'He made the calling of money lender stink in the nostrils of the nation..... The ruthless barbarity of his temper almost made Shylock benevolent in comparison. Nothing could exceed the virulence with which he turned upon his victims as soon as he got them in his power. No tyrant of history or legend was more remorseless; no trapper more subtle in luring his prey. For a dozen years he was known as the most dangerous member of his trade, and yet he was only 35 when last Tuesday he was called to account'.

It is not known what his terms were, except they were heavier than most - and the common rate of interest was 5s. per £1 per week                   or 1,300% per annum